How Businesses Are Approaching Voter Outreach in the Current Political Landscape
There is an increasingly delicate line for companies and brands to tread in the current political landscape regarding how they talk about policy and political issues. On one hand, based on our own Authenticity Gap research, we know that consumers are more loyal to companies and brands that take a clear stance on issues that matter to them. On the other, appearing partisan or overtly political can isolate customers and employees who don’t share those views.
National Voter Registration Day. Your Chance to Stay out of the Fray.
Consumers expect more visibility from companies on civic engagement than ever, a trend that will only continue to grow. That’s why this September 24 — National Voter Registration Day — is such an important opportunity for businesses to engage in Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts across the country. Focusing on voter registration allows companies to push a positive, pro-voter message while communicating their values, without falling into the fray of divisive political issues.
And businesses have shown a willingness to engage on this subject. Successful consumer- and employee-facing campaigns were a big part of why the voter turnout for the 2018 midterm election was higher than it has been since the Bull Moose Party was in the White House. We have seen some clear best practices emerge from recent efforts.
Best Practices for Businesses to Help Get out the Vote:
- Focus on general participation rather than partisanship. Members of the workforce and general public appreciate their companies playing a visible role in promoting civic engagement as long as it is seen as neutral and free of any political agenda.
- Work with influencers to further your reach with specific audiences. While conventional GOTV wisdom tends to focus on individual voters, we are now seeing clear examples of influencers across different platforms, well, influence election results. Understanding the audiences you’re trying to reach and the arbiters of opinion in those circles can be an effective avenue for outreach.
- Make sure your communication is authentic. That’s the key to success. Anytime you are communicating with your stakeholders for a specific purpose, do so in a way that fits with your brand and reinforces your reputation.
- Remember, the most effective way to mobilize a voter is in person. While we are seeing organizations experiment with various tactics to engage the eligible voters in their network — with varying levels of success — in-person interactions offer proven results. Setting up informational events, attending community events to share information and canvassing are all still tried and true methods to get eligible voters registered, informed and most importantly, to the polls.
Don’t Forget to Take Advantage of Free GOTV Resources.
Regardless of how many companies and organizations are willing to put into their own voter outreach efforts, there are always plenty of free, publicly available resources online that can easily be plugged into existing communications channels to promote voter participation such as NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org and Rock The Vote.
It is crucial for companies to start planning early if they are going to execute a successful voter outreach program. Here in the U.S., the presidential election is in just over a year, and like every U.S. election to come before it, this one is the most important of our lives.